An important book about 
one of the world's most inspirational yet least known mythologies, 
written by an expert in the genre

One of the most comprehensive collections of its kind

Includes 14 black and white historical illustrations

"fascinating collection... presents some outstanding examples of historical Native American stories... sensitively retold to convey the flavour and colour of the oral storytellers...allowing us, as readers, an enthralling insight into Native American storytellers and their diverse cultural backgrounds.  Each of the ten sections of the collection has an introductory section describing the life, history and storytelling traditions of the people behind these stories, complete with historical pictures...  Each story is accompanied by short notes giving details of the original narrator where known, and summarising related stories...  Overall, it was a pleasure to review this book.  I recommend it without reservation; the scholarship is excellent." 
– Grammarye, the journal of the Sussex Centre for Folklore, Fairy Tales and Fantasy at Chichester University.


"Billed as the most comprehensive book of its kind ever produced by a UK author, this fascinating sounding collection of Native American myths – including such extraordinary characters as Bear Woman, the Thunderbirds and the Keeper of the Brains of the Dead – is the result of three years' research in hundreds of archives.  Also covers ten different American cultures and their histories."
– The Bookseller































The book contains over 100 ancient stories, verse narratives, songs, anecdotes and fragments of wisdom, sourced from 55 different Native American peoples.

They cover all human experience: birth, marriage, courage, jealousy, fortitude, forgiveness and death







A common theme is the interdependent relationship between people and the different animals which share the world with us, 
especially bears...






Many of the stories are allegories that explore universal human concerns, promoting harmony between people. 
They celebrate friendship and both romantic and family love


 




A special aspect of the book is that it reproduces accounts from the turn of the 20th century about traditional Native American storytelling customs  






It also gives fascinating information about the Native American storytellers of the era, who generously shared their wonderful myths with outsiders




and quotes some of their actual words





It includes brief notes on the diverse civilisations which produced the myths, ranging from the sophisticated towns of the Southwest and Northeast, to the 
hunter-gatherer societies of California and the Arctic with their specialist technologists. 





Some of the stories were 
long forgotten and previously unavailable 
to the general reader











The book includes many hauntingly beautiful songs and inspiring fragments of wisdom       

 
  

The stories feature unforgettable characters such as the Thunderbirds, Spider Woman,  the Sun, Bear Mother, Darkness and the Keeper of the Brains of the Dead... 




...alongside iconic sacred tricksters such as Coyote, Old Man and Raven


 They take us on fantastical journeys to amazing places such as the Sky World, the Country Under the Sea and the Land of Ghosts

                                                          


They tell of the creation of the world and its landscapes, the origin of plants, animals 



and people








They use fantasy and humour to offer guidance on good ways to live and behave






Based on the oldest surviving accounts, this book celebrates one of the world's greatest canons of mythology








To the best of the publisher's knowledge, 
all historical paintings and photos on this webpage are in the public domain.
Please note that these images do not appear in the book